This blog aims to give a personal and totally biased view of the Greek islands I have visited. It is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to the islands. Two aspects of Greek islands that I love are seeing goats wandering around and the dawn chorus of cockerels crowing. Accordingly, each island I have stayed on will have a Cockerel Count and Goatiness rating.
Unless otherwise stated, all images are my copyright and may not be reproduced or copied. Should you wish to purchase a license for commercial use of my images please follow the link to my stock photography blog where you will find details of my agents. Comments are welcomed but reviewed before publication. Enjoy your visit. Regards, David.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Tilos (Dodecanese):

Tilos Sea Star in Symi, 2011
I spent two weeks on little Tilos in August 2006. Situated between Rhodes and Kos, Tilos is some 14.5km long with a population of well under a thousand (actual reported figures vary). Staying at the harbour town of Livadia I was well placed to watch the comings and goings of various shipping -not least the islands very own fast catamaran ferry boat the Tilos Sea Star on which I had made the transfer from Rhodes. Built in 1989 in Norway it started service on Tilos in 2000. There's more about the Sea Star in my post about Symi where I saw it again in 2011 (pictured).

One of the big things about Tilos was that it was the first Greek island to ban hunting and shooting (circa 1987) and is subsequently a haven for wildlife -birds in particular. With over 100 reported bird species it has been designated an Important Bird Area, not to mention an EU registered Special Protection Area, so if bird watching is your interest Tilos may well be worth considering for a holiday.

Approaching Livadia
I don't know a lot about birds (other than the Herring Gulls on my window ledge) but I do know an elephant when I see it and Tilos has one of those. This was actually a prehistoric pigmy elephant whose bones were discovered in the Kharkhadio caves. You can visit these caves but, in 2006 at least, you couldn't actually go in them. What you can do is go to the island museum at Megalo Chorio (the Capital of Tilos) and see the assembled bones there. Megalo Chorio is a pretty village with a few tavernas and shops at the further end of the island from Livadia. There's an island bus you can catch to there. When I went I decided to walk back to Livadia which, though quite a long walk, was well worth it. Probaly also a good chance to look for all those birds if you know your stuff.

Ferry arrival, Livadia
Another outing (coach trip this time) was to the old monastery of Ayios Pandeleimon. You can have a good walk around here and look inside the monks cells. There is also a fresh water spring here which you can drink from or fill your bottle with. Inevitably, the water is said to have no end of health giving properties and I would probaly be able vouch for that if I hadn't just stuck to the Retsina provided for lunch on the trip!

Ayios Pandeleimon monastery
A highlight for me was a walk to the old abandoned village of Mikro Chorio which lies inland of Livadia (30 minutes at most). Here you can walk along narrow alleyways of derelict stone houses. You probaly won't see any/many other people while here but expect to encounter numerous goats and sheep also wandering round the same narrow alleyways. The predictable result was that myself and livestock managed to startle each other at every turn. Just be ready to step smartly out of the path of fast moving animals. Rather incongrously the only non derelict building here was a music bar/club that opened at night. I assume only in the peak season.  Whether this was also frequented by the goats and sheep I didn't get the chance to find out.

Whilst in Tilos, consider the opportunity to take a day trip to the island of Nisyros and the volcano there (see my earlier post). Certainly in 2011 Dodekanisos Seaways were running a scheduled service taking in Tilos and Nisyros (just under an hour long trip). As I previously wrote, it is a great experience.

Cockerel Count on Tilos ranks as Medium but the Goatiness rating gets a High (mainly thanks to my Mikro Chorio visit).

As ever, note the date of my visit as things can change. Feel free to comment by clicking on the comments box below. Regards, David.

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